Back to Sharpening Techniques

Grinding Nirvana

Can one get excited about a grinder? Well, not really ... I'd say that you need to get a life. However ...

I like to keep things simple, although my set up looks anything but that
It has, in fact, just got simpler ... and better ... and easier ... and I am excited that sharpening will take less effort than ever (yes, I do have to get a life).

I have been using a Tormek for hollow grinding for almost two years. It is really excellent for grinding safely to the very edge of the bevel. I also have an 8" half speed dry grinder. This is used for plane and chisel blades as well, especially for those requiring the removal of a fair amount of steel or where the steel is harder than ideal for the Tormek (e.g. HSS, D2).

My plan has been to develop the dry grinder for my lathe chisels. I had been looking into buying the solid Wolverine Grinding Tool Rest to replace the LV tool rest. I liked the idea that it interchanged a tool rest for bench chisels and plane blades with a rest for lathe chisels. I have been freehanding all my lathe chisels to date, but I realise that, while this is fine for spindle work, I will need to improve the accuracy of complex grinds as I begin to do more bowls.

The Wolverine is not available in Australia, and so I had begun to look at alternatives. The one that caught my eye was a recent product from Tormek. No, not another wet grinder ... but a tool rest for a dry grinder, the
Bench Grinder Mounting Set BGM-100 .

This is not really a new product, but a packaging of the universal support and adjustable mount. It comes with a manual for setting up and use.

So this is this one I bought, and have just set up, and used. There it is ...

The grinder is set up with a blue Norton 46 grit 3X wheel and a white Norton 46 grit wheel.

Note that I actually have just the single universal support (the tool rest) for the grinder. The second one here is borrowed from the Tormek. I do have two mounts so that a support can be swapped from one side to the other.

There are also two types of tool jigs: the chisel/plane blade holder and a flat rest. I do not, as yet, have any for lathe chisels.

The chisel/plane blade holder is terrific for grinding a perfect hollow, while the flat rest allows for freehanding a hollow or grinding a skew (or any other custom need).

What is great is that one can move between the machines (Tormek and grinder). This is facilitated by the ability to set the grinding angle exactly when using the AngleMaster:

Here is a chisel I re-ground from scratch. It took about 1 minute or less to set up the angle to 25 degrees and a couple of minutes to grind fully..

A few swipes on my waterstones ..

I also ground the camber for a D2 jack plane blade. To do this I used the flat rest ..

After honing ..

What I like about this set up is that it is so easy to obtain a repeatable angle, as easy as to grind a clean camber, and the promise of great flexibility and range in grinding all types of blades.

For interest, here is my sharpening centre (still has doors to go on the sink cabinet ..

... and Shapton waterstones used (1000/5000/12000) ...

Regards from Perth


September 2009